Mississippi: Evidence That Worker Was Subject of Murder Investigation Insufficient to Establish His Injuries Were Self-Inflicted

Evidence that an electrical line worker was under investigation for murder, that law enforcement officials had obtained a DNA sample from him a few days earlier, that he was not “acting as jovial as usual on the day of the accident,” that several witnesses heard an electrical “pop” and saw the worker with his hands on both the primary and neutral lines, resulting in a severe electrical shock to the worker was insufficient to support the Industrial Commission’s finding that the worker grabbed both electrical lines in an attempt to commit suicide, held a deeply divided Supreme Court of Mississippi.  The burden of establishing that the worker was injured through his own intentional act rested upon the employer, indicated the court.  While the employer offered testimony that the worker indeed faced criminal legal issues, there was no direct testimony as to how the accident occurred.  No one actually saw it and the injured worker testified that he could not himself remember.  The Commission’s determination that the injury was self-inflicted was based on assumptions and speculation regarding how the accident occurred, reasoned the high court.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Smith v. Tippah Elec. Power Assoc., 2014 Miss. LEXIS 176 (Apr. 3, 2014) [2014 Miss. LEXIS 176 (Apr. 3, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 38.01 [38.01]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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